The Warren County Board of Supervisors gave owners of property on Panhandle Road the greenlight to rent to tourists over objections by some neighbors.
The supervisors voted 4-0 at their regular meeting Tuesday to approve a conditional-use permit for the short-term tourist rental at 2686 Panhandle Road in southwest Warren County. Board Chairman Walter J. “Walt” Mabe, Vice Chairwoman Cheryl L. Cullers and Supervisors Archie A. Fox and Delores R. Oates voted in favor of the motion the approve the permit. Supervisor Tony F. Carter did not attend the meeting.
Daniel and Samantha Nobles and Kevin and Renee Roig applied for a conditional-use permit to use property they own jointly at 2686 Panhandle Road as a short-term tourist rental. Panhandle Road, managed by the Virginia Department of Transportation, serves as direct access to the 4.9-acre property, which is not in a property owners or homeowners association. The property lies near the George Washington National Forest.
Several people spoke at the public hearing on the application. Dawn Simmons told supervisors that she and other neighbors have concerns about the condition of Panhandle Road, which she described, as narrow and water-damaged with humps and blind corners. People that live in the area already know how to safely drive on the road. Wendy Weir expressed concern about how the owners can manage the property if they live more than an hour away.
Stephen Aaron Jr. owns property at 1174 River Ridge Road and told supervisors he obtained a conditional-use permit for a short-term tourist rental last year. Aaron recalled that the Roigs and the Nobles came out to the River Ridge Road property and decided to do the same. Aaron said this is how the county can attract people to the area, to invest in property and spend money locally.
The applicants plan to use the property as a tourist rental to offset the various costs such as the mortgage, maintenance and insurance. They mention in their statement filed for the permit that they are experienced landlords of both long- and short-term rentals in Washington, D.C., and understand property management of these types.
No more than six people can occupy the dwelling to comply with Warren County Health Department regulations. The applicants must provide documentation to county staff for the maintenance of the sewage system as recommended by the health department. The applicants must have the well water tested annually for e-coli and L-coliform bacteria and submit the results to the county planning and health departments by the end of the calendar year. The permit prohibits the shooting of firearms, hunting or discharging fireworks as well as outdoor fires, bonfires and fire pits.
County Planner Matt Wendling presented information to the supervisors prior to the public hearing. Concerns had been raised about a bridge that is part of the driveway to the dwelling. Chief Richard Mabe and Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico, of the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, visited the site and determined that the bridge can support emergency vehicles as required for access to the property.
The Planning Commission recommended that supervisors approve the permit after seven adjacent property owners spoke against the application at a public hearing. Speakers voiced concerns about litter, drinking and driving by guests, fireworks and hunting on the property. They also expressed concerns about child safety, road maintenance, and how fast emergency crews could respond to calls for service at the property. Wendling also provided letters to the supervisors from other property owners recommending that the board members deny the permit request.